Science in the Park 2016: Pictures!

What happened at Science in the Park 2016? Here are some pictures, thanks to Jacqueline Mellisande. Go see her website is

Science in the park – A glimpse of science and the public

By Hayley Smith

images by Jacqueline Mellisande

On the 19th March, 2016, the British Science Association held in my opinion the most popular Science in the Park event to date, with visitor numbers in excess of 7000. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Wollaton hall and deer gardens, a day of investigation and scientific education managed to enchant adults and children alike.


I arrived at Wollaton hall early Saturday morning, with the first task of the day being to assist in the set up. This was no small task, with stalls representing everyone and everything from hearing research charities to soil experts, the University of Nottingham Institute of Physics and School of Psychology to some memorable robots from Nottingham Trent University. Being a biologist and keen owl-nut, a personal favourite was the Hawks of Steel exhibit. I was lucky enough to say good morning to one of the beautiful owls as the birds were brought out before the exhibit opened. The perks of being stationed in the gardens for part of my volunteer shift!


Whilst offering programmes for the day’s events, the amount of genuine interest being shown came as both a pleasant surprise and an encouragement. The STEM Outreach society of the University of Nottingham, also in attendance, speaks of the importance of conveying a sense of intrigue and enthusiasm for all areas of science to the wider public. In presenting simple yet engaging activities for visitors, stalls showed the value of creating a first point of contact for people new to or less versed in scientific topics. Activities catered to all ages and included things such as creating a paper DNA double helix replica, psychological memory and speed tests to an explosive finish at the Physics Live finale. Others in attendance also included OPAL, who provided information on how to explore and categorise the environment around us in order to discover more about the current state of the British outdoors.


An issue expressed by many attending and on social media related to the sheer volume of people in attendance. Walking through the interior of the Hall to go for lunch in the volunteer’s room was a mini-endeavour in itself, with the hall already packed by this time! Despite these frustrations the event was clearly a success – with more than three times the expected amount of people in attendance, these events prove themselves to be positive and valuable forms of outreach.

So, how was Science in the Park?

If you came to Science in the Park 2016 – thank you and I hope you had a great time.

Thank you to all our exhibitors, volunteers, visitors and Wollaton Hall (who hosted us for free) for making this day possible.

Over 7000 people attended, which far exceeded our expectations. Thank you to everyone for being so patient and we hope everyone enjoyed the day even if you didn’t get a chance to see everything. We will be reviewing how we do things before next year so hopefully you’ll come back next year.

We’ll be collecting photos and reviews over the next few weeks. Here is what we have so far:

Nottingham Science Blog 

Nottingham Science Blog review of the talks by Gav Squires

Fab report from Josh Giltrap on YouTube

Who Controls the Robots?

Come along to the Nottingham Future Debate! This is part of a national series of debates from the British Science Association

We ask: Who controls the robots? What happens when things go wrong? Who can we blame? This is a Question and Answer session with experts in autonomous cars, cognition, artificial intelligence and communication.


3 March, 6.30pm


Lakeside Arts Centre lecture theatre, East Drive, University of Nottingham.
Tickets are free, but please register at


Noah Russell
Noah works in the Bioengineering resarch group, University of Nottingham. He works between engineering and biosciences to model brain cells and processes and hopes to create a simple living artificial brain someday.

Sarah Sharples
Sarah works in the Human Factors Department at the University of Nottingham. She is interested in how we design displays and interfaces, particularly for transport. She has researched how different levels of automation have affected train drivers.
Gary Burnett:
Gary works in the Human Factors Department at the University of Nottingham. He is interested in how technology in cars will impact the driver. Will cars that drive themselves improve safety, comfort, efficiency, distraction or enjoyment of driving?


Like an old comfortable pair of genes – Gav’s review of August’s SciBar

Dr Catrin Rutland from the University of Nottingham comes to The Vat and Fiddle to talk about Genetics: Fact or Fiction? Where is the boundary between science and science fiction?


Genetics was not officially a science until the late 1970s; prior to then, you would have been a “blood bio-chemist” rather than a geneticist. However, people were talking about it long before then. It was Mendel who first discussed it, moving on to Erasmus, Darwin and Watson-Crick discovering DNA in the 1950s.


The human body has 22,000 genes that all code for different things. Even though we have sequenced them all, we still don’t know what each gene does. However, we do know that the same gene may do something different in a different species. For example, we share 98% of our genes with a chimpanzee (and 74% with a banana) A recent court case in America looked into whether chimps should have “human rights” since they are so similar to us. The case failed and at present, neither chimpanzees nor bananas have human rights.